LibDems show have learned nothing – and are Brexit hypocrites – with Tory/UKIP coalition deal

LibDem catastrophe after 2010-15 coalition with Tories has taught them nothing – and their ‘remain’ principles aren’t even skin-deep

Any notion that the LibDems had learned anything from their ballot-box punishment in 2015 after five years of collaborating with the Tories had already been shown to be nonsense by their eagerness to collaborate with the Tory/Tory-lite ‘TIG’ group when it formed a few months ago.

But at least TIG was made up of ultra-remainers in line with the LibDems’ supposed commitment to ‘stop Brexit’.

But any semblance of principle has now been flushed away by the LibDems’ decision to collaborate, not only with the Tories – again – but also with the ultra-leave and now mostly racist UKIP to take control of Bolton council.

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and hyper local parties, Farnworth and ‘hyper-local’ right-wing groups Kearsley First and Horwich & Blackrod First Independents have joined forces to take over the running of the council – meaning that the LibDems are now formally ‘in bed’ with at least two pro-Brexit parties.


The LibDems haven’t fooled anyone for a long time – but even the pretence of principle or so-called ‘progressive’ politics is abandoned in a heartbeat when it suits them.

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  1. Why were Labour unable to form alliances so that they could maintain control of Bolton?

    1. I live in Bury, visit Bolton every day. Bolton council run by Labour was hated by almost everybody, because Labour ran it so poorly. The 7 (I think it is) local residents councillors have all won, over the last four years, Labour seats. Five are from Farnworth which has been totally neglected by Labour. In 2015, Labour had a 19 seat majority, which has been whittled away over the last four years, resulting in this debacle. 3 of the seats Labour list were won by Tories. The Skwark implied after the locals that the seats lost in Bolton by Labour were linked to the area being a Brexit area. That almost certainly isn’t the case.

      1. Joe Kaliszczak 12/05/2019 at 11:03 pm

        Thankyou for taking the time to answer my question. I had suspected that what you describe might be the case.

      2. Also, the Guardian recently printed a letter from someone from Dronfield. He claimed that the local Labour council supported building on greenfield sites rather than brownfield.

        He claims this as an important reason why Labour recently did so badly in Derbyshire N. E.

        As for UKIP, they should now be regarded in much the same way as the BNP.

  2. The beards, sandals, local government, middle class image of the LibDems was shattered when they put down on paper exactly what their philosophy is all about in the Orange book, reclaiming Liberalism. It coincided with a western shift of Liberals to open embrace of neoliberalism.
    These people were unhappy with their Conservative coalition partners because they didn’t go far enough in NHS “reforms” and privatisation of the whole criminal justice system.
    There is nothing for the LibDems to learn, it’s the voters that need to learn….the LibDems and Liberalism are worse than Conservatives, highly damaging to this country and highly dangerous to the west with their support for “humanitarian intervention” and.fake NGOs/charities like the White Helmets.

    1. @ lundiel,
      You seem to have hit a nerve with the Liberal Democrat, RH.

      1. How’s life out there on Planet Zog? Still feeling around behind the back in an attempt to locate the fundamentals?

        Point is (Jeez, it’s tedious trying to get through to possible intelligence, or even the living) that simply chucking around comedy ideas about the LibDems doesn’t actually do much to stop the current serious leakage of Labour votes to them.

        Quite the reverse, in fact.

        (For information, whilst you’ve been wittering on and farting about with self-righteous chanting – over the last three years, Labour has lost c. 35-40% of its predicted vote share, whilst the LibDems have doubled theirs.)

      2. Poor RH.
        Can’t even find a LibDem Forum.
        Must admit I never had him down as a LibDem.
        I thought he was a tigger.
        I always thought that for all their faults, at least the LibDems had a coherent policy on Brexit (misguided, but coherent) – they obviously never told RH.

  3. “beards, sandals, local government, middle class image”

    … as opposed to the honest, salt-of-the-earth, horny-handed sons of toil in the Labour Party?

    Yawn. Lazy and simple-minded.

    … easier than real politics, tho’.

    Null points

    1. My “yawn” drew two responses from you and clarity about your feelings for them.
      The only votes Labour are going to lose, have already lost, to these untrustworthy charlatans will be from middle class wankers in gentrified Tory boroughs in the home counties.
      I’m also delighted that my comment has drawn you out to defend your party of choice, which, IMO, is rotten to the core.

      1. Marx used the unkind term ‘lumpenproletariat’ . There now seems to be a lumpen political class that simply scrapes along by contributing nothing to politics other than playground insults.

        Anyone who thinks that I’m a supporter of the LibDems is a bit wanting in the upstairs department – and possibly only semi-literate at best.

        Now, lundenial – the point isn’t *defence* of that Party. It’s an attack on mickey-mouse caricatures that show an inability to recognise the opponent even without pebble lensed political glasses. It’s not even a caricature of the present – it’s the old 1960s image of the Liberals of Joe Grimond.

        You really think that your caricature really captures what an increased number of people are supporting whilst Labour vote bombs? And that you sort of crude, self-satisfied virtue signalling is an answer? That chanting at anyone who disturbs the sleep of your naive preconceptions and prejudices is a ‘Centrist’/Blairite’/LibDem’/Tigger- whatever. Dream on. I’ve been berated by more LibDems – and for for being too little of a Blair supporter by far better real Labour supporters – than you will ever be.

        Of course – you could argue that it doesn’t matter. But I’ve seen this area swing back to the LibDems; I’ve seen their professional campaigning (even if the substance is bollocks) – because Labour has ballsed it up at the level of both the local council and the parliamentary candidacy. Which does matter if the only response is to caricature their support. Try it on the doorstep.

      2. Your respect for LibDem “professionalism” is noted, like I said, the party of local government. Have you ever read the Orange Book? I have, it’s an advocate for economic Liberalism in the manner I described, with added Euro worship. There’s even an essay from one Vince Cable, whoever he is, stating that, along with prisons (that went well), the Royal Mail should be privatised and Mr Cable.”could see a point in the future when we would join the Euro”.
        What you sneeringly call caricatures RH, is facts. The economic liberals are worse than Tories and as far as I’m concerned, you’re one of them in as much as your posts reveal about yourself.

      3. lundiel 13/05/2019 at 2:41 pm

        When was the ‘Orange Book’ published?

      4. As if on queue, here comes SteveH with yet another question. I don’t know SteveH, when was Das Kapital written. Google’s your friend and the Orange Book is the modern, up to date, philosophy of economic liberalism as practiced by the Tories, LibDems and the European Union. It should be read by everyone as a warning.

      5. “Your respect for LibDem “professionalism” ”

        Oh dear, lundenial. I just recognise an effective campaign when I see it …. and bungling amateurism from the side that I support. The pudding was proved in the elections.

        You totally miss the point with your wittering about the Orange Book : which point is that : despite the Orange Book; despite the hated coalition with the Tories; despite the eventual return of a Labour MP – after many years of local Liberal/Tory dominance …. the LibDems are back in charge here.

        … and all you have to offer the electorate here is a caricature of ““beards, sandals, local government, middle class image”.

        It’s not me that’s ‘sneering’ incontinently, and thinking it’s politically cute to drill holes in the bottom of the boat to let the water out … and missing the f.ing point by 180 degrees.

  4. Lib Dems were co-authors of Austerity.
    Supported tax cuts for millionaires & big business corporations plus with Tories gave £145m tax cuts for Hedge Funds who gave £50m to the Tories so Austerity was and is only for working people!
    Lib Dems sold out on tuition fees.
    Lib Dems with Tories changed local govt. funding rules so instead of being based on population size and NEED are now based on population size only resulting in cuts for Northern Labour Councils of £6.9b but £3.5b gains for mainly Southern Tory Councils.
    Lib Dems are arch opportunists oh and see in opinion polls Brexit Party on 31%, Labour 28%, Lib Dems 12% and Tories 11% and they may come 6th!
    Perhaps suggests Labour emphasising Pro-Brexit could have romped home in these bloody Tory elections which most don’t want.
    Cameron started it by appeasing his Party and now it is Carry on May!
    Oh think Blair and his ilk should leave Labour’s stage and in Blair’s case (with Bush) ideally on route for The Hague.
    I will vote Labour for JC.

    1. Ref! ref! We was robbed! : “Lib Dems are arch opportunists oh and see in opinion polls Brexit Party ”

      I didn’t get into politics to just whine about bears shitting in the woods.

  5. I find it strange that with the help of the Lib Dems funding to local councils were decreased by 62% from central Government leaving councils all over the country with not enough money to pay for things we had always had before and people blame Labour , Dum or what .

  6. What’s even more depressing is seeing Nigel Farage in my home town of Pontefract, pressing the flesh. Where is Yvette Cooper to challenge him? We need to get Brexit sorted. Get an agreement and move on or this will hurt the party. The forthcoming Euro Elections will show that there is no appetite for a new referendum, quite the opposite. Tom Watson and Keir Starmer this morning walked right into a trap and didn’t even notice! 150 Labour MP’s saying the won’t vote for a deal unless there is a People’s Vote, that will be 150 MP’s not in Parliament after the next election. Talk about out of touch! Brexit is stopping us talking about the real issues such as homelessness, austerity, NHS, social care, childhood poverty, crime and the environment. Do these two individuals or those 150 MP’s see the damage they are doing to the people they purport to represent?

    1. Brexit is stopping us talking about the real issues such as homelessness, austerity, NHS, social care, childhood poverty, crime and the environment

      Surely the quickest way to put the EU question behind us is to revoke Article 50. Anything else would result in year after year of parliament being consumed by acrimony over trade deals and treaties.

      1. … and meanwhile, the ducking of the issues has handed Farage the initiative as the fragmented minor parties suck up a significant number of ‘Remain’ votes, but others stay with Labour.

        You’d have to be a bit simple, after the local elections, to consider present strategy a ‘success’.

      2. Actually, I think it would be cathartic to have Parliament set the trading arrangements after the withdrawal agreement. Revoking Article 50 won’t heal the country it would divide it even more, letting the far-right into areas that were once Labour strongholds. Just look at Farage today in Pontefract, he knows the Brexit Party is on fertile ground with the area voting over 60% for Brexit. The People’s Vote is about keeping the status quo and looking after a bureaucracy that has failed all the people of Europe. How can people like Caroline Lucas support the People’s Vote campaign when we have Tony Blair and Sir Michael Derek Vaughan Rake who is chairman of Phoenix Resources (Fracking Company) on the board! A bit of double standards there I think.

  7. ” this will hurt the party”

    It already has.

    A Party with a Tory fence stuck up its arse, but with an unequivocal anti-Brexit support base, but still equivocating about whether it’s in favour of democracy … or has any credible view on the subject just isn’t a good look.

    Thus the classification with the Tories as the incompetent ‘established parties’, and the nose-dive of support.

    It’s really not rocket science. The radical electoral potential of 1977 has been frittered away by the Brexit nonsense, drowning out the domestic issues. The right is laughing all the way to the bank, despite the Tory disarray.

    1. “The radical electoral potential of 1977 has been frittered away by the Brexit nonsense, drowning out the domestic issues.”

      How is it that our MP’s can get up in Parliament and send our brave servicemen and servicewoman to die and be maimed on some foreign soil without a second thought but can’t get their heads around a democratic decision of the people in a referendum?

      1. On the Labour side I guess a fair few of them are somewhat reluctant to vote to make their constituents worse off.

      2. In answer to your question : Because it wasn’r a proper democratic decision in any meaningful constitutional sense. Such ‘decision’ as is claimed was a simple majoritarian decision *not* supported by the majority of the electorate.

        The actual decision made in the 1970s within a proper framework has not been superceded.

        If you want the illogicality of tying constitutional decisions to simple majoritarianism, then you need to accept a corollary of that – a revisiting of the question – as is the case in general elections. Unless you’re a Farage – with all the dubious integrity that entails!

        Parliament is – contrary to the current penchant for whining incessantly about reality – accurately reflecting the split vote and minority appeal of Brexit, and changing opinion.

      3. … and I note a headline in the Groan :

        “Theresa May remains opposed to any form of Brexit referendum”(like Farrago}

        Interesting allies.

      4. “The actual decision made in the 1970s within a proper framework has not been superceded.”
        Cobblers! It was superseded by the Maastricht Treaty and the treaty of Lisbon, neither of which were ever put to the electorate. Blair would have even took us into the Eurozone, without a vote, if he’d have had his own way. We’ve been cheated on Europe ever since we joined what was then a trade group. Polling, unsound as it is, has always indicated 2:1 against taking the Euro as currency but as usual, politicians think they know better. See what support your LibDems generate on 23rd May, when the people will make their feelings known.

      5. Lundiel, is it your contention that the 2/3 ‘the polls say’ are against the Euro – against it on sound economic or on jingoistic grounds/nostalgia for Sterling?
        And if it’s the latter is that the kind of ‘democratic’ decision the left should be comfortable with?
        If you claim it’s the former you already know I’m going to call bullshit, purely on the basis that there aren’t that many economically literate people in the country.
        Or on the planet.
        Should we on the left be forbidden from ‘frustrating democracy’ on something like capital punishment when a majority can be stirred into supporting hanging by some inflammatory article in the Mail? When a witty, funny S*n front page can swing an election?
        Rabble rousers win elections all the time.
        The evidence is everywhere.
        The evidence of them swinging a referendum result is also there.
        We don’t allow (yet) surgeons to sell the operation they want to perform, we insist on informed consent and on medics taking the trouble to inform even the hard-of-thinking.
        Should we do less than insist on informed consent with democracy?

  8. RH
    You could say that for all elections. When did we have a proper majority in the country for a party at an election? I would expect Thatcher and Blair got a high turnout but I doubt they had a majority vote. So to get 50% you’d need to get 23.45 million people to vote. The data available in 2016 was 46.9 million eligible voters. To get 51% you’d need to get 23, 919.000. The total number of votes cast in 2016 was 33,614.184 on turnout of 72.2%. The only larger vote was in 1992 General Election with 33,614.184 with a turnout of 72.3%. The largest post war turnout was 83.9% on a vote of 28,771.124 in 1950.

    Leave 17,479,375
    Remain 16,134,809
    So we will see what the total vote is on 23rd and what the turnout will be.

    1. You miss my central point, Christopher : which is that a vote on a constitutional issue is essentially different from a periodic election, where a simple majority will do.

      The obvious response to the treatment of the EU issue like an election is to have a periodic re-vote – like now.

      The response to Farrage in Featherstone (which I’ve known well) is ‘interesting’. But not in a positive sense for the romantics here.

  9. SteveH

    A lot of those who are in Labour leave voting areas are already worse off. They’ve had austerity not just since 2010 but since Thatcher came to power in 1979. They know and understand austerity very well. For a brief period from 1997-2002 they saw changes such as NHS funding and Surestart that helped a lot of families but then Blair went weird and started behaving like a dictator and forgot the Labour heartlands to curry favour with Murdoch. We lost Scotland because of the antics of Blair, Balls and Leslie. Let us not forget the Balls/Leslie Budgets that advocated Austerity Lite, the electorate knew they were being conned and saw through it. If you want radical change you need a Corbyn Government!

    1. The only thing of substance that we appear disagree on is whether we are better off in or out of the EU. I happen to agree with the majority of Labour members and voters that we are on balance better off remaining and reforming.

  10. Warn your friends and acquittances and stop them becoming victims.

    Vulnerable people are being tricked out of hundreds of pounds, charity warns.

    Benefit claimants have been warned to remain vigilant in the wake on a new Universal Credit scam that is potentially tricking poor and vulnerable people out of hundreds of pounds.
    Citizens Advice says conmen posing as officials from the Department for Work and Pensions are targeting benefit claimants as they leave Jobcentres, wrongly informing them that they need to apply for Universal Credit and then go on to apply for advance payments in their name.


    This does raise some questions as to how secure the UC system is.

    1. People who scam the poorest are lower than snake shit.
      People who pass laws to scam the poorest are even lower than that.

  11. The results of the latest LabourList readers survey are interesting

    Which one of the following parties will get your vote in the European elections?

    Labour – 63.4% (2,497)
    Liberal Democrats – 12.2% (482)
    Green Party – 11.3% (446)
    The Brexit Party – 4.6% (180)
    Other – 4.2% (166)
    Change UK – The Independent Group – 4.1% (160)
    Conservatives – 0.1% (5)
    UK Independence Party – 0.1% (3)


    1. Despite what some on here would have us believe only 4.62% of the Labour supporters surveyed said they will vote for a Brexit supporting party.

    2. I’m not sure how representative a sample is ‘Labour List’ readers.

      But the results of that survey seem pretty consistent in terms of (a) the local election results and (b) personal contact with Labour supporters.

      A quarter of potential votes leaking away from Labour is serious, and certainly gels with the growth in the Remain parties in the local elections that we saw in this city.

      In the longer perspective, the more serious decrease in support for Labour over two years also adds support to the findings.

      I would expect that, outside ‘Labour List’, there will somewhat greater leakage to ‘Leave’ parties – but it will still be dwarfed by the disillusion from the majority who are for ‘Remain’.

      A survey of Labour members would be interesting – but, obviously dangerous for the initiators of this nuliarbore-style top-down policy (‘We know what’s good for you’).

      Well – let’s see what happens when the talks break down. But, I am convinced Labour could have shaped this debate much more positively.

  12. The one belly laugh I had after the coalition was set up, was a tory convo I overheard in the pub a few days later. Along the lines of “Cam’s got everything he wanted, Cleggie even gave in on students, and all Cam’s given him is half a promise on electoral reform”.
    And so Clegg lost his – and the LibDems – credibility instantly, and, as it turned out later, for nothing.
    Cameron’s “We’re all in it together (except for the rich)” was the beginning of years of tory lies and austerity, but the utter humiliation of the LibDems was a top joke.
    Don’t believe them when they say the LibDems are on the rise; they’re not. Similarly, don’t believe them when they say the tories are permanently split; they’re not. Both will revert to type come the general election.

    1. You’re half right – about the LibDems in coalition. And it is still to be seen how far the current growth in LibDem support will be sustained.

      But that current growth isn’t about ‘belief’ – it’s an actual doubling of support over two years – albeit from a pretty low level.

      The point is that Labour’s position has correspondingly weakened in the same period, and even a relatively small leakage of core support (which is ‘Remain’ support) is dangerous.

      1. “The point is that Labour’s position has correspondingly weakened in the same period”
        Remind me again, which planet are you from?
        Our maybe you are confusing voting intention at the Euro ejections and voting intention at general elections.
        Sure there’s little doubt that Labour will lose some votes this time to the dishonest extremists of both kinds, but there’s no evidence of anything more than a protest vote, so far, at least.

      2. Andrew – I’m afraid it’s you who are confused. Of course I’m talking about the overall support for Labour, as shown by the standard GE question. The current Eu elections are a side show – but do display a similar leakage.

        The decline in support is shocking – in the true sense of the word.

      3. I’m happy to report that all’s well here on planet Earth. You can tell the folks back home that they’re looking down the wrong end of their telescopes. As usual.
        Anyone who thinks Labour are losing significantly to the LibDems should pop down to Specsavers. But I’m guessing that you died-in-the-wool cleggies are way too late for rational thought.
        Go in peace – or pieces – but you’ve amused me enough for this thread.

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